3 Mesoscale Air-Sea interaction in coastal oceans

Monday, 15 August 2016
Grand Terrace (Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center)
Yuntao Wang, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Mesoscale ocean-atmosphere interaction between sea surface temperature (SST) and wind stress throughout the global coastal ocean was investigated using 7 years of satellite observations. Coupling coefficients between crosswind SST gradients and wind stress curl and between downwind SST gradients and wind stress divergence were used to quantify spatial and temporal variability in the strength of the interaction. The use of a consistent data set and standardized methods allow for direct comparisons between coupling coefficients in the different coastal regions. The analysis reveals that strong coupling is observed in many mid-latitude regions throughout the world, especially in regions with strong fronts like Eastern and Western Boundary Currents. While most upwelling regions are characterized by strong seasonal variability in the strength of the coupling, intraseasonal variability is especially important in regions of strong eddy activity (e.g., Western Boundary Currents). Intraseasonal variability is particularly important for the coupling between crosswind SST gradients and wind stress curl. Results from the analysis can be used to guide modeling studies, since it allows for the a priori identification of regions in which regional models need to properly represent the ocean-atmosphere interaction to accurately represent local variability.
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